Couple kissing

The first time you met with prospective clients you were probably nervous and sweaty. As a seasoned wedding professional, your meetings likely go more smoothly now.

If not, or if you’re unable to book clients at the first meeting, follow these tips to improve your skills. You should feel comfortable and confident, signing contracts with clients at the first meeting.

Prepare ahead of time

As for any meeting or interview, it is important to get yourself ready well beforehand. Consider the last interview you had. Could you have been more prepared? Should you have known more about the company or your own competition?

As a wedding pro, you know a great deal, but don’t assume you know everything. Prepare enough so that if the couple has questions that you aren’t ordinarily asked, you aren’t caught off-guard.

Ask the couple to prepare themselves as well. Have them peruse your website (where you happen to have fantastic client reviews). Give them an idea of your cost beforehand so they don’t feel stunned when you are face-to-face.

These days, most couples will ask your prices before meeting anyway. You don’t need to give them a specific number or price list, but do give them a price range.

Evoke curiosity

Once you’ve been in the wedding business for a while, you learn that couples who don’t sign a contract at the first meeting are not likely to book with you. After couples go home and aren’t under time pressure, they tend to use trivial differences between wedding professionals to help them make their decision.

One way to get prospective clients interested and motivated to book with you immediately is to offer incentives. Tell the couple ahead of time that you offer incentives for those who book at the first meeting. This gives them the chance to invite decision-makers to the meeting and gets them excited.

Offer something worthwhile that won’t eat into your profits. If possible, present a few options so the couple can pick something meaningful to them.

Think of your first meeting as a first date

Dress to impress. This is your one-time chance to make a good first impression on your potential clients.

Consider the couple. Are they young? Do they live in a hip part of town? Did your mutual friends tell you that they have tattoos and body piercings? You might not need to wear a suit to meet this cool couple.

But if you’re meeting a couple who is bringing along parents, you’ll want to dress differently. When in doubt, dress conservatively.

Show, don’t tell

Don’t just tell the potential client how many weddings you booked last summer. Share stories, like the one about how you helped the Marshall family have the greatest night of their lives.

Prospective clients often ask about previous work, so be prepared to showcase your skills with a portfolio of some kind. Whether you’re a makeup artist or florist, bring a laptop or photo album with a sampling of your best work — just don’t overdo it. You don’t want to overwhelm the couple with too many examples.

Whether your work is displayed on a computer or in print, don’t sit silently while the couple looks through it. Engage with the potential clients and take them on a journey through your experiences. But don’t spend too long on this — you want to be focused on the project at hand!

Build rapport and trust

Remember that you’re there to learn about the couple as much as they want to learn about you. Ask the couple questions to find out about their needs. Listen more than you talk, thinking less about selling yourself and more about how you can help.

If for some reason you aren’t the right fit for this couple’s wedding, be honest. This establishes your character. Although this particular couple may not sign a contract with you, they’ll probably share your name with their engaged friends!

What do you think?


 

Photo Credit

PennyMegan Miranda is a Portland, Oregon-based blogger, writer and business owner. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her baking bread and planning her own wedding.

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5 thoughts on “How to Book a Client at the First Meeting”

  1. Robin Kemp says:

    I forgot to mention that I also give the couple a free gift, usually a nice but inexpensive photo frame or wedding memory book, thus creating the need to reciprocate.

  2. Robin Kemp says:

    I am a one-person wedding planner and I market my services to brides who can’t afford the more expensive planners, whose only other choice would be to get married at the court house. Before we meet, I direct them to check out my website. When they arrive, I greet the couple enthusiastically as though they are my new best friends. I offer them refreshments and give them a short briefing of what I can offer them. I tell them of the passion that I have for the wedding business and how I will put that same passion into their wedding to make it memorable. I’ve not had one turn me down yet.

  3. Daphne says:

    Would you publicize the booking incentive on your website? Or just mention it in communication with the bride prior to the meeting so that she is aware of it?

    1. I’d just mention it before the meeting to help her/him come prepared to take advantage. It’s an incentive to get them to book quickly, not contact you.

  4. Natasha says:

    What are some good examples of same day signing incentives?

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